The Nova Scotia government is considering a proposal that could help get rid of waste water from the hydraulic fracturing or fracking process.
The Lafarge cement plant in Brookfield has applied to use the water in its cement-making.
There are an estimated 27 million litres of fracking waste water in Nova Scotia. Some of it contains so-called Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORMs). Fracking waste water is stored at the Atlantic Industrial Services facility in Debert, as well as in holding ponds in Kennetcook and Noel.
Environment Minister Randy Delorey told CBC News Tuesday afternoon that all fracking waste water being stored in Debert has had NORMs removed to meet acceptible Canadian standards.
Lafarge is proposing to heat the fracking waste water to high temperatures in a kiln which would then be used to help make cement.
The company took out a full page ad in the Truro Daily News, informing residents of its plans, but neglected to mention the pilot program involved fracking waste water. That omission has upset some members of Colchester County’s council who say the public needs to be fully informed.
Delorey said so far, no decision has been made.
"Any steps that are taken in dealing with the water in the province of Nova Scotia are going to be taken prudently, cautiously and safely to make sure that any process meets the requirements and the environmental standards of the province," he said.
"Regardless of any proposal that would come forward, they would all meet or be expected to meet those same standards."
Delorey also said the department has not flagged any environmental concerns about using the fracking waste water in the cement process.
Last week, Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced a plan to ban the importation of fracking waste water from New Brunswick. He said given there's a moratorium on fracking in Nova Scotia, it makes no sense to accept waste water from elsewhere.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves blasting a mixture of water, sand and chemicals into a well bore to split the surrounding rock and release trapped hydrocarbons, usually natural gas, coal bed methane or crude oil.